See also http://www.petrapark.com
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From 1st January the entrance price to Petra has been increased sharply. The authorities have tired to sweeten the deal by including a horse ride and guide service in the price of the ticket, but not so many individual travellers, who are those who chiefly read this website, are really interested in horse riding. Guide service is explained below. In addition, a distinction has been made between people who are genuinely visiting the country of Jordan, and people who come to Petra as a day trip - usually from Israel or Egypt.
The Petra entrance conditions are now extremely complex and I ask you to read this carefully
First and simplest : children under the age of 15 can enter Petra free.
All visitors are then divided into two categories : those who are spending less than 24 hours in Jordan and the others. The “short stay” visitors are charged 90JD entrance fee.
Those who are staying longer than 24 hours are charged 50JD for a 1-day Pass, 57JD for a 2-Day Pass and 60JD for a 3-day Pass. Almost everybody is asked to justify their stay in Jordan, either by showing their passport or by evidence of a hotel stay.
This price includes the horse ride down to the entrance to the Siq – about a kilometre. Obviously you do not HAVE to take the horses, but if you do not want to ride down, but think there is a chance that you might like to ride the last stretch when you are coming back, you should take the numbers of the horses and arrange a time with the rider when he should wait for you. This is always respected.
Regarding children visiting Petra, this seems a good moment to point out that Petra is BIG and very strung out. Even a short visit rrequires walking for four or five kilometers, and a full day noticeably more. This is hard going for young children. Rather than cutting your visit short, I advise you to take a carriage to get down to Petra and as soon as you are in front of the Khazneh, then look for a donkey to hire with one of the Bedouin boys to lead it! It is likely to cost you about 10-15JD for the day, but it will carry two children with no great problem, even up the steps to the Monastery.
The carriages are slightly better value; they cost 20JD and seat two people (often the driver will squash in as well). Again they will come to collect you at the time you set, and again a tip is expected. But these carriages take you right down to the Khazneh instead of stopping short of half way, so anybody who has trouble in walking or who is with small children, will find them very useful.
It is now possible to take a carriage right down to the Museum Basin, for the price of 40JD return. I suspect that only people who really have difficulty in walking will be interested in the ride at this price.
Guides in Petra
Guide services : here again the visitors are split into three separate groups.
Those whose visit to Jordan is arranged by a travel agency in Jordan also have the guide arranged for them for the price of 70JD.
Independent travellers in parties of four or less have the option of joining a guided tour which leaves the Visitors’ Centre every hour on the hour. This guided visit is included in the price of the ticket. Obviously you cannot choose the guide, this is on a rota system. All the guides in Petra speak English, but there are very few other languages available.
If you do not want to wait for the official visit you have the option of taking a “private guide”. The prices for this are given below.
However, if you are in a party of more than four people, you are considered too many to join the group tour, and you do not have the choice : you HAVE to take a private guide if you want one. It is not possible to reserve the guide in advance if you are only there for one day, you are given the next guide on the rota. If you want the same guide for the next day, you can usually arrange this with him directly. To point out the obvious : you are not refunded the part of the entrance fee that paid for the group tour!
Here are the prices for the private guides :
For these visits, the guide will accompany you down to the Museum or up to the heights, but then he will leave you, allowing you to set your own pace coming back, to take photos and wander as you wish.
If you prefer to explore around without a guide, you absolutely need a good guide book to visit Petra, but you can find some information on the web page "A walk around Petra". There are also a great many walks off the main tracks, down in the site. You might think that it is full of tourists - but in fact, if you leave the valley bottom it is very easy to find yourself alone.
Please note that it is NOT usually a good idea to leave the path that you are on to climb up rocks or whatever. And climbing up a tomb wall, even if you think it looks easy or there are steps or a ladder, is a VERY BAD idea - many of these places are downright dangerous, and there is not always a warning posted.
is organised on three nights a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays provided that there is enough demand. If a lot of people are interested, the organisers might add a fourth night. You walk down the Siq, lit by candlelight to the Khazneh, where a explanation of the site will be given, tea will be served and there is usually a short concert of Arab music. The entrance fee for this is 15JD over and above the entrance ticket to Petra which you must also have.
You must reserve ahead of time either at the Visitors' Centre, at the Bedwina Travel Agency, the Petra Moon Travel Agency or the Zaman Travel Agency. You can also go through your hotel (paying the usual commission). The trip leaves the Visitors' Centre at 8.30pm (arrive in time to register) and returns at around 10.30pm. During the season this trip is very popular indeed. The great attraction, of course, is the moonlit or candlelit walk, talking is discouraged, and the atmosphere in the Siq is something special.
The "main road" goes straight down the Siq to the Khazneh and continues from there down to the Basin, passing the steps on the left leading to the High Place, the theatre, the steps on the right leading to the Urn Tombs and to the other Royal Tombs (very spectacular!), down along the paved road and its colonnade which was the main commercial centre, past the Qasr al Bint and finishes at the Basin, where you can find the Museum, several restaurants (rather expensive ones) and paths leading off in several directions, notably up to the Monastery. See the page "A Walk around Petra" for more details on all of this.
Paths go off in every direction, most of them rather enticing, and if you really want to explore Petra you need several days. To look at just the main monuments requires either a very full day's walking up hill and down, or a minimum of two days.
DO NOT WANDER TOO FAR, AND RESPECT THE ADVICE NOT TO PASS CERTAIN POINTS WITHOUT AN OFFICIAL GUIDE. You can often substitute one of the Bedouin children or young men for an official guide (they know the terrain very well indeed and are much cheaper!), but all too often helicopters have had to be called out to find tourists who have been a bit too intrepid. It is truly very easy indeed to get lost around here. One would think that with Jebel Haroun on the horizon it is impossible, but believe me, it's not! For the same reason, if you are visiting Petra alone and have ideas about wandering off the beaten track, it is a good idea to make sure that somebody has at least a vague idea of where you are planning to go.
RESIST ALSO ANY TEMPTATION TO CLIMB UP SCAFFOLDING THAT MIGHT BE ABOUT! You might get a beautiful photo from the top, but safety standards are not necessarily the same as in the West, and a bad fall would not help your holiday! Just because something is not barricaded off or marked as dangerous, does not mean that it is safe!!! You are expected to use a certain common sense!
Those visiting Petra in the winter should know that in rain or snow, access to Petra is not allowed. There have been a number of flash floods lately, so far there have been no more tourist deaths, but the authorities still remember 1963 [when a group of French tourists was swept away by a flash flood in the Siq, and 23 of them were drowned], and prefer to play safe. If you are in Amman or somewhere, and are planning to come to Petra when the rain starts, get your hotel to call the Visitors' Centre (03.215.7433) to check the position. I can't tell you just how likely it is that you will be caught out like this, it depends entirely on the weather, and as I have already said elsewhere, years differ considerably. It is difficult for the authorities, since it doesn't actually need to be raining in Wadi Mousa before a flash flood descends. In April 2001, there was a very nasty one that came down in two separate waves from El Hai in the mountains, while at that moment in Wadi Mousa there was only a light drizzle. During 2001 a great deal of work was done in the mountains, erecting coffer dams, and we shall hope that this problem will become rare.
I should like to thank Todd Bolen of Moshav Yad HaShmonah, D.N. Harei Yehuda, Israel for the use of his beautiful photos of the Monastery, the Royal Tombs and the Tomb wall from www.bibleplaces.com. Many thanks for this, Todd!